It’s time for us to make our observations from what we’ve seen from the last week as we share what we’ve been educated about.
1. DOPS is back
After a relatively quiet start to the season, the Department of Player Safety was back with a bang with three lengthy bans dished out to get social media’s juices flowing.
Jeff Hutchins at Fife copped a seven-game ban, although nothing was published on the website and nothing reportedly as to why officially, but it was reportedly for kicking a water bottle into the crowd.
Then there was the coming together of Michael Davies of Sheffield Steelers and Manchester Storm’s Mathieu Gagnon that saw six game and a five game ban respectively, although Davies’ was accumulative for different offences.
Welcome back, DOPS!
2. Steeldogs back on track after slump
We talked them up on this page earlier in the season, then they hit a four-game losing slump so we hope this doesn’t lead to any further disappointing runs, but Sheffield Steeldogs would have enjoyed their win over Leeds Chiefs on Sunday.
The 6-3 result in Blackburn ended a run that has seen Ben Morgan’s side topple from the summit of the NIHL National League to a mid-table place and the result over Leeds will restore some badly needed confidence.
After losing to the Chiefs last week, they also lose to Telford Tigers (twice) and Swindon Wildcats and with their next four games against Raiders, MK Lightning and two more against Leeds, they’ll fancy themselves to bounce straight back up.
3. Cardiff need to hit top form soon
As we head into November, we should be expecting Cardiff Devils to start hitting their stride, which is something they usually do round about this time of year.
There were a few moans and groans after they lost at Fife Flyers on Saturday before bouncing back with victory over Dundee Stars, but recent form has been patchy since they ended their involvement in the CHL.
They haven’t won three in a row since the beginning of October and have won five and lost seven of their last 12 and with three tricky games to come with Sheffield Steelers, Guildford Flames and Glasgow Clan, Andrew Lord’s side need to get back on track and soon.
4. Watters is igniting the Flames
No-one is talking about Guildford Flames and how they’ve hit a good run of form in their recent games to a point where their league position could be seen as deceptive.
Eight wins in their last ten is a good run for Paul Dixon’s side and while four of those wins have come in the Challenge Cup to see them into the last eight, the other four wins haven’t helped their league position, which stands at seventh.
Ian Watters has been central to that, picking up an impressive haul of seven goals and four assists in his last nine games and you sense the Flames are the team no one is noticing again. Keep an eye on them.
5. Glasgow finally figured out Dundee Stars
Stars have had the upper hand in the three previous meetings this season and their only win going into the game was against the Clan the week before.
But three goals in a 90-second period got them over the line as Glasgow kept their spot in the top three, but had to work hard for it, leaving Zack Fitzgerald’s men the happier. As for Dundee, the run is one win in their last nine now and much to do from their point of view.